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These videos, produced by the Choices Program, bring university scholars into secondary level classrooms. They are designed to be used along with printed curriculum materials.

Supplemental Materials

Supplemental Materials includes graphic organizers, a PowerPoint of political cartoons, online lessons to accompany the printed unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.


This online ballot is designed for use after working with the Choices Program's curriculum unit, The U.S. Role in a Changing World or other related topics from our Current Issues series.

U.S. Role in the World

The U.S. Role in a Changing World

Sixth edition. March 2012.


The U.S. Role in a Changing World helps students reflect on global changes, assess national priorities, and decide for themselves the role the United States should play in the world today.

The twenty-first century has brought new challenges for the United States. For many, the attacks of September 11, 2001 brought home the importance of international security issues. Other issues also clamor for attention. A changing global economy, the threat of climate change, and the spread of HIV/AIDS are on policy makers' radar screens.


Readings review the forces that shape the U.S. role in the world. Part I reviews three critical turning points in the history of U.S. foreign policy. Part II examines several pressing issues facing the United States and the world today: the economy, human health and the environment, international relations, and culture and values. Part III explores security concerns in the United States and considers how the issues presented in Part II influence policy decisions about security.

The Choices Role Play

At the center of this curriculum is a simulation in which students debate four distinct options for U.S. policy. By exploring four clearly defined alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values underlying specific policy recommendations and the trade—offs that accompany each of the choices. The role play helps students clarify their thoughts and, ultimately, articulate their own views on the future of the U.S. role in the world.


International Relations Terminology
By organizing key terms into four broad conceptual categories, students become aware of key terminology and issues related to international studies.

Rethinking International Relations
Analyzing different perspectives on international relations, students begin to identify the issues, values, and assumptions integral to the debate about the international system.

Examining Global Opinion
This lesson presents students with sets of data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Questions enable students to read, interpret, and think critically about the data.

Interpreting Political Cartoons
Students explore a broad spectrum of political viewpoints on foreign policy by interpreting political cartoons from around the world.

Role-Playing the Four Options
Working cooperatively to develop and present different options for future U.S. policy to U.S. senators, students are able to clarify and evaluate alternative policy recommendations.

The Options and Beyond
Armed with new knowledge and a sense of their own values, students deliberate the options presented, then articulate their own coherent recommendations for U.S. policy. They then compare their policies with those of their classmates.